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Yinka Shonibare, Space Walk, 2002. In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM), Philadelphia. Fiberglass, plastic, silkscreen on cotton sateen and cotton brocade, rubber. Installation dimensions variable. Edition of 2. Dorian Gray, 2001 (detail). 11 black and white resin prints and 1 digital lambda print. 33 x 41 inches each. Edition 4/5. Courtesy of the Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Private Collection.

Yinka Shonibare, Space Walk, 2002. In collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM), Philadelphia. Fiberglass, plastic, silkscreen on cotton sateen and cotton brocade, rubber. Installation dimensions variable. Edition of 2.

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Dorian Gray, 2001 (detail). 11 black and white resin prints and 1 digital lambda print. 33 x 41 inches each. Edition 4/5. Courtesy of the Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Private Collection.

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Yinka Shonibare MBE:

Solo Exhibition

September 8, 2004–November 6,2004

Opening Reception:

Reception and Lecture by Thelma GoldenDeputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs at the Studio Museum in Harlem
Thursday, October 7, 6:00p.m.

 



Shonibare's interest in culturally-charged juxtaposition has remained a constant thread through his work. Recently short-listed for Britain's prestigious Turner Prize, he is best known for his installations that address cultural identity by juxtaposing seemingly traditional African batik patterned cloth with the styles of 19th century aesthetes and dandies. Through installations, paintings, and photographic series, Shonibare addresses the intersection of identity, cultural symbols and aesthetics.

In Space Walk, Shonibare's 2002 collaboration with FWM, a man and a woman dressed in space suits made of richly colored fabrics float in the gallery. For the fabric 's design Shonibare silk-screened text and photographs from 1970s "Philly Sound" record albums by bands like The Intruders, Three-Degrees, The O'Jays and contemporary singer Jill Scott. The fabrics are adorned with the names of famous African Americans, such as James Brown, Billie Holiday, Barry White and David Hammons as well as famous Philadelphia sites from the days of Philly Soul.

Reinterpreting Western art and literature (Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray or Jean-Honore Fragonard's painting The Swing), Shonibare presents jarring and elegant tableaux of mannequins resplendently clothed in colored fabric. These sculptural installations reflect his interest in the long-lasting and pervasive effects of European colonialism. The headless mannequins wear finely detailed Victorian fashions, made not from historically-accurate fabrics, but African kinte cloth. However, the kinte cloth is not what it seems. Through the complex web of colonial-era trade, the wax-printed fabric was actually manufactured in Holland and only later shipped to West Africa, where it was adopted and has now become synonymous with traditional African textiles. In addition to the sculptural tableaux, Shonibare's work includes large-scale photographic projects (such as Dorian Gray) and recent installations of vibrantly painted circular objects.

 



Bio

British, born 1962, lives and works in the East End of London.

Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in London and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, where his family moved when he was three. He returned to London at the age of 17 to study fine art, first at Byam Shaw College of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design), and later for his MFA at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. In 2004, Shonibare was shortlisted for Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize, and in 2005 was bestowed the distinction of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), a title he has now added to his professional name.

A major retrospective of Shonibare’s work was mounted by the MCA Sydney in 2008 and traveled to the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. His one-person shows include a major exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002, and others organized by the Tate Britain in London (2001), The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh (2001), the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2000), and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (1997). His work has been exhibited internationally at the Venice Biennale as well as at Documenta 10 (2002).